DCP&P Attorney in Monmouth County, New Jersey

Raising a child is immensely rewarding despite the occasional challenges. However, the struggles of parenting pale in comparison to the severe disruption caused by allegations of child abuse or neglect. If a former spouse or family member is accusing you of harming your child, you need experienced and empathetic legal representation that can help protect your family.

When the New Jersey Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCP&P) contacts you about pending investigations, don't risk your family's future by going through the process alone. Contact the Family Law Team at the Lento Law Firm and defend your name when facing allegations of abuse or neglect. Call our team at 888-535-3686 or contact us through our website to schedule your consultation.

The New Jersey Division of Child Protection & Permanency

The New Jersey DCP&P is tasked with safeguarding children across the state from abuse or neglect at the hands of parents or guardians. When DCP&P receives a report about potential abuse or harm, they can step in to remove children from the custody of alleged abusers. Monmouth County residents facing serious accusations might find their children being taken away by DCP&P without advance notice.

DCP&P takes swift action when removing children from extremely unsafe living conditions, but its role in protecting children doesn't stop there. Concurrently, DCP&P staff may begin investigations and legal proceedings to discipline parents or find a new, permanent housing solution for children. DCP&P's investigations can lead to criminal charges against parents or restraining orders that force them out of their house and away from their children.

DCP&P does not always refer cases to local police for criminal charges but may do so when evidence warrants such actions. Typically, they will make administrative decisions ordering training, education, or substance abuse programs for parents to turn a child's home into a safe place to live.

DCP&P Cases and Reporting in Monmouth County

DCP&P has two Monmouth County offices, a south location in Asbury Park and a north location in West Long Branch. DCP&P officials from one of these two offices will contact you if you or a former spouse are accused of abuse or neglect in an investigation regarding the safety of your child.

The Monmouth County DCP&P investigates two types of allegations:

  • Child Abuse: Sexual, emotional, or physical harm to a minor child caused by a parent, guardian, caregiver, or entrusted adult.
  • Child Neglect: Failure of a parent, guardian, or caregiver to adequately provide for a child, such as by failing to feed, shelter, clothe, or provide medical care.

Anyone with credible knowledge or suspicions of child abuse or neglect must report it to DCP&P to avoid potential legal repercussions for non-reporting. Don't delay if you believe your child might be suffering harm at the hands of your former spouse or another person in your child's life. After reporting to DCP&P, contact the Lento Law Firm Family Law Team to get the help you need in handling the aftermath of a report and investigation.

How Do DCP&P Investigations Start in Monmouth County?

Following a credible report, caseworkers investigate further by visiting the child's home and speaking with the parties involved. If you are named in the report, caseworkers will want to talk to get your side of the story and make initial determinations about the report's validity. They will also talk to other family members and any children in the home.

Preventing DCP&P caseworkers from entering your home to speak to children involved in a report can result in police or court orders forcing your hand. After visiting your home, caseworkers may talk to other adults with information about the child's situation, such as doctors, teachers, neighbors, and extended family members.

DCP&P will end its investigation within 60 days and mail you a summary of its findings. If caseworkers find evidence of harm or potential risk of abuse or neglect, they may begin formal court proceedings against you.

People who make reports to DCP&P can remain completely anonymous throughout an investigation, and the accused person will never learn who made an initial report against them.

Monmouth County DCP&P Court Process

Should DCP&P proceed with court action rather than dismissing the case or taking administrative action, the process will follow these general steps:

  1. Order to Show Cause, where the DCP&P must provide proof for the accusation through affidavits and other evidence.
  2. Preliminary Hearing, where a court will decide if the Order to Show Cause details sufficient evidence to continue with the case.
  3. Fact-Finding Hearing, where you, your attorneys, and DCP&P will present more evidence to the court.
  4. Dispositional Hearing, where the court determines what happens to the child and what restrictions should be placed on the parent if DCP&P showed sufficient evidence of abuse or neglect.
  5. Review Hearing, where officials monitor the progress of parents and guardians undergoing treatment, education, or programs as mandated by the court.
  6. Permanency Hearing, where you and the court can present plans for permanent housing solutions if your child's case has been open for over a year.

Not all DCP&P investigations result in court proceedings, as DCP&P closes many cases through administrative decisions. Working with an attorney, you can appeal these decisions and attempt to restore your life to its former state.

The Lento Law Firm Family Law Team Can Help Monmouth County Residents

DCP&P investigations are extremely taxing on your mental health, especially when accusations of abuse or neglect are entirely unfounded. During this process, you need legal representation, but you also need something more. At the Lento Law Firm, our Family Law Team provides Monmouth County clients support and assistance as they endure one of the most emotional and daunting challenges of their lives. Our attorneys can advise you on what to say to caseworkers and how to proceed during hearings so you and your family can finally close this stressful chapter of life.

If you are facing accusations of child abuse or neglect and are being investigated by Monmouth County DCP&P, the Lento Law Firm can help. Contact our Family Law Team today at 888-535-3686 or complete our online contact form to schedule your consultation.

Contact a Family Law Attorney Today!

Attorney Joseph D. Lento has more than a decade of experience practicing Family Law in New Jersey. If you are having any uncertainties about what the future may hold for you and your family, contact our offices today. Family Law Attorney Joseph Lento will go above and beyond the needs for any client and fight for what is fair.

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